Tag Archives: Harlan Coben

Peter Swanson

This year I’ve read Peter Swanson’s two books ‘A Kind Worth Killing’ and ‘The Girl with a Clock for a Heart’. They are fantastically enjoyable reads; twisty thrillers that help satisfy my cravings for a Harlan Coben style book while I’m waiting for his next book.

‘The Kind Worth Killing’ was a particularly satisfying read. It is told in three parts and there is a mind-blowing twist at the end of the first part which I totally did not see coming and which takes the book in a completely different direction to that which I was expecting. It’s very rare to read a book which surprises me that much and it was so refreshing.

I’ll definitely look out for books from this author again in the future. Although I hope he is able to branch out from the cold sociopath female femme fatale villains which feature at the heart of both of these books.

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Review of ‘Fool Me Once’ by Harlan Coben

cover83910-mediumThanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for the ARC of this book.

I love Harlan Coben, he’s one of my favourite authors. His books are so fast-paced and easy to read. ‘Fool Me Once’ is not one of my favourites.

The main character, Maya Stern, is a disgraced soldier with PTSD whose husband and sister have been murdered. Due to this heavy subject matter, I felt the book lacked Coben’s usual lightness of touch and witty dialogue, which often make his books fun to read.

The book starts with Maya seeing her supposedly dead husband playing with her daughter on a recording from her nanny cam. This leads her to investigate her husband and sister’s deaths. The theme of dead people returning from the grave is one Coben uses often in his books and it will be very familiar to his fans. It always sets up an intriguing premise for a book; however, in this book it felt like a missed opportunity. It was a pleasant tease to draw you into the book but the rest of the plot did not live up to the promise of the beginning and I thought the plot completely fell apart during the final climax. I was hoping for a much cleverer and more exciting conclusion to the book.

While I appreciate a strong female lead, Maya is not a very likable character. Her parenting skills are abysmal. For example, her choice of next of kin for her daughter is an alcoholic.The book is told in third person, so she’s not exactly an unreliable narrator, but Coben chooses to omit a crucial part of her story in order to create a big reveal for the finale, so you feel a bit duped because the book would be completely different if we possessed all the facts that we should about Maya at the beginning of the book.

As always with Coben, this is an easy, fun read but it does not live up to the standard of some of his best work. If you’ve never read one of his books try ‘Tell No One’ first, it is a near perfect thriller.

Review of ‘The Stranger’ by Harlan Coben

I always enjoy reading Harlan Coben’s books, particularly his stand alone books as the storylines are usually less formulaic than his Myron Bolitar series.

‘The Stranger’ is a standalone book about a man who is approached by a stranger in a bar who tells him that his wife faked a pregnancy and miscarriage 2 years earlier. When he confronts his wife with this information she vanishes. His search for her reveals the usual Cobenesque twists and turns, deceit and secrets with a final dramatic climax.

It’s very easy to read, quite enjoyable but not one of Coben’s absolute best books. I think probably when you’ve read all his books they begin to lose impact a bit because they do tend to tread the same ground but with slight variations on the same themes. However, it was definitely a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

I thought that the storyline based around a group of people who blackmail people over things they have ordered on dodgy websites was not very believable. The baddies seemed too omniscient. Plus, as usual with Coben, the plot relied on severa unrelated bad events all coinciding rather fortuitously. However, if you can suspend your disbelief, it’s a fun read.

Review of ‘Found’ by Harlan Coben

FoundI love Coben’s crime thrillers for adults, but I haven’t been a very big fan of his young adult series focussing on Myron Bolitar’s nephew Mickey. However, this third instalment of the series is definitely the best so far. The premise is slightly less far fetched in this book and we get some answers to unsolved mysteries from the previous two books.

This book is a bit less action packed than the preceding books and does a better job of focussing on the school and basketball life of Mickey and his friends. The series revolves around Mickey saving missing or endangered teenagers, and the case in this book is much more believable. However, it is still a really daft premise especially the way they are directed towards teenagers they must save by pictures of butterflies appearing somewhere.

The book has a very satisfyingly conclusion, finally resolving the plot line introduced in the first book which placed a question mark over the death of Mickey’s father. I feel like now this has been resolved future books in the series will probably be better; this book definitely feels like Coben is beginning to get the hang of the young adult genre which I think he struggled with in the first couple of books.

Review of ‘Missing You’ by Harlan Coben

ImageI read EVERYTHING Harlan Coben writes! I love his style but it must be said that his books often tread the same ground and in recent years themes, characters and storylines in his books are becoming a little repetitive. Nevertheless, they are always easy to read and entertaining.

I think this is one of his better recent novels. The story feels rounded and self-contained and the lead character, Cat, is a female detective, which is a bit different.

The unbelievable co-incidences which usually drive Coben’s plots are kept to a minimum as are the other repetitive tropes (dumb goons, fight scenes and wisecracking detectives). Cat’s story feels personal and more believable than his many of his other recent narratives.

The ultimate showdown and conclusion to the book feel a little rushed, but it is an enjoyable read, which I think fans of Coben will love.